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Cisco gains on earnings news

Shares of the networking equipment company end higher after the company yesterday beat Street estimates.

    Shares of networking equipment company Cisco Systems jumped today after the company yesterday posted first-quarter profits that exceeded analysts' expectations by a penny.

    Cisco stock closed higher, up 2.25 or 3 percent to 67.8125. Shares closed more than 3 percent higher as well yesterday at 65.5625, ahead of the earnings news. Shares have traded as high as 70.1667 and as low as 31.7778 in the past 52 weeks.

    Excluding research and development write-offs, the company posted a pro forma profit of $559 million, or 34 cents a share, compared with $416 million, or 26 cents a share, for the like quarter a year ago.

    Wall Street expected the company to earn 33 cents a share for the quarter ended October 24, according to First Call. Analysts' estimates ranged from 32 cents to 35 cents a share.

    Quarterly revenue rose to $2.59 billion from $1.87 billion for the like quarter a year ago.

    Net income, including charges related to Cisco's $56 million purchase of American Internet was $518 million, or 31 cents a share. The deal was completed September 30.

    "We have seen a dramatic increase in the awareness of the Internet's strategic value from business and government leaders," chief executive John Chambers said in a statement.

    Cisco, the dominant data networking equipment company in many high-end markets, provides much of the equipment that connects the Internet. Cisco makes high-end routers, network switches, and remote access products, among other communications infrastructure products.

    During a conference call, company executives said Cisco's new challenge will be to penetrate the integrated data-voice-video market.

    The company said it is concerned about the global economic situation, pricing pressures from competition, as well as industry uncertainty surrounding the Year 2000 bug and its possible impact on spending over the next 12 to 18 months.

    Last quarter, Cisco posted a net profit of $491.7 million, or 45 cents per share, on revenue of $2.39 billion.